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122                                      FLORA  INDICA.
collecting when travelling, to bear upon the rich materials
collected by his predecessors and himself. His exertions
have already given him a prominent position amongst Indian
botanists; and from his continued labours we hope to see the
Cingalese Flora fully illustrated in an economical and bota-
nical point of view.
We shall employ this term in its widest signification, and
as usually applied by older geographers, to designate the
whole of .the narrow belt of country (rarely above fifty miles
broad) west of the great Peninsular chain, from Goa to Cape
Comorin: it thus includes the British district of Malabar, be-
sifos Canara and Kurg to the north of it, and the kingdoms
of Cochin and Travancor to the south. The eastern political
boundaries of these districts correspond nearly, but not uni-
formly, with the crest of the mountains; and though some
parts of the latter are included politically in the provinces of
Mysore and the Carnatic, we shall consider them all as one
province botanically.
Malabar is in general hilly and mountainous; a narrow
strip of low land borders the sea, frequently intersected by long
sinuous salt-water creeks, and covered with Cocoa-nuts; the
hills which are thrown off as spurs from the mam axis often
reach the sea and dip suddenly into it: they enclose well cul-
tivated valleys, and, though generally low to the west, they
rapidly rise to the cast, where they join the chain.
The climate of Malabar is characterized by extreme humi-
dity, and au abundant rain-fall during the south-went mon-
soon, when the temperature seldom rises above 75C (the meau
of the year being 81 ). lu many parts the raiiw commence
aa early as the middle of March, but rarely become heavy
till May, continuing thenceforward incessant till October, and
depositing more than one hundred inches cm the coast In
the extreme youth the rain-fall is 1m coneickrable; at Quikm
77 inches, and at Trivandrnm (55 iachc*, probably from the